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Aquinas College Participates in Advent Season with Music, Prayer and Community Events

The air is getting colder, the autumn leaves finish their falling and the first whispers of coming snow make the rounds. The Aquinas community is anticipating the holidays! In the build-up to Christmas, the Advent season is an opportunity to reconnect with family and friends, contemplate personal spiritual journeys, and express gratitude for the experiences of the year.

The weeks of the Advent season are about preparation leading to Christmas, a time for reflection and spiritual growth. Beginning on December 2, Aquinas College offers many events to enhance the Advent season with music, lights and joy: offering opportunities to affirm the promise fulfilled at Christmas, build community and share the peace, hope and mystery of the holyday.

On December 2, at 3 p.m., the Aquinas College Chorus, Chamber Choir, and Valenti Handbell Ensemble will participate in a musical service retelling the coming of Christ titled, “A Service of Lessons and Carols: Telling the Ancient Story of the Savior’s Birth through Scripture and Song” at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish (1449 Wilcox Park Drive Southeast, Grand Rapids). There is no cost to attend, and this prayerful event is open to all.

A second opportunity to hear the Valenti Handbell Ensemble, will take place on December 3, when they participate in “Double A’ Peal: Joint Christmas Concert,” alongside the Calvin College Handbell Ensemble. Directed by Stephanie Wiltse, the concert will be held at the Calvin College Covenant Fine Arts Center (1795 Knollcrest Circle SE, Grand Rapids). The event begins at 7:30 p.m. It is free and open to the public.

Wednesday, December 5, will be a day of holiday festivities at AQ. Throughout the day, there will be fun holiday arts & crafts at The Moose Café in the Cook Carriage House. At 2 p.m., a storyteller will stop by to share some exciting holiday tales with the AQ community. The annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony, sponsored by AQPB, will take place on Holmdene Lawn at 5 p.m. with cookies and cocoa to follow.

On December 6, in the main lounge of Regina Hall at Aquinas College, members of the AQ community are invited to join in an “Aquismas Tradition.” AQ faculty and staff will read well-known holiday stories to those in attendance. The event begins at 7:30 p.m. and is free of charge. Drinks and light refreshments will be served.

The annual “Music Department Christmas Concert” will take place on December 16 at 3 p.m. in the AQ Performing Arts Center. Christmas cookies and punch in the lobby will follow the performance. Later that evening, head on over to Kretchmer Recital Hall in the AQ Art and Music Center at 7 p.m. for a “Messiah Sing-Along,” featuring the Chamber Choir of Grand Rapids. Both events are free and open to the public.

In addition to these events, and throughout the school year, all members of the AQ community are welcome to attend Mass in Aquinas’ Bukowski Chapel on Sundays at 8 p.m. and Mondays and Wednesdays at 4:30 p.m., with opportunities for Confession on Mondays at 4 p.m. These services are a powerful way to connect with one’s faith during the year, independent of or in conjunction with the unique messages of the holiday season.

Aquinas College will close for Christmas Break at the end of the day, on Friday, Dec. 21. Students wishing to celebrate Christmas Day Mass are encouraged to contact their local parish, church or a parish or church in the area for Mass and service times.

The hope is that the seasons of Advent and Christmas will be a time of personal reflection and spiritual growth, and an opportunity to connect with loved ones. May you experience the peace of Christmas and be filled with its warmth, light and joy!